Nick’s Special Talent – By Dan Duritsa
Nick sat in his usual booth by the window that overlooked the highway. He watched the the cars race past each other while he sipped his coffee and ate a raisin bagel. The newspaper in front of him had the usual trash of headlines of crime and car accidents. This one murdering this one. That one robbing that one. What a bunch of losers in this town. Time to stand up and take charge just like a true spartan warrior, Nick thought to himself. Nick picked up the cream cheese covered bagel and took another bite. He quickly wiped the debris from the corner of his mouth with a napkin. Kelly, his waitress came over with a fresh pot of coffee.
“How’s life today, Nick?” she asked.
“Not bad. Just taking in the morning with my usual before I head into work. And you?”
“You know me. Just living the dream here at Jake’s Diner,” she said with a sarcastic smile.
“Can I give you a fresh refill, Nick?”
He lifted his white mug up to her with a wink. “Please do,” he said.
“If you need anything else, just holler.”
“Will do.” He watched her walk away in those tight jeans as she disappeared behind the counter. Kelly was only twenty, working her way through college. She was twenty two years younger than Nick, but he didn’t care. He reassured himself that it was perfectly fine to look, but don’t touch. Hell, a sweet girl like her probably got a man waiting for her anyhow.
The ding of the bell above the front glass door of the diner caught some by surprise as a man walked in. Decked out in a Steelers ball cap, dark shades, and camouflage jacket, he made his way up to the cash register. The man pulled out a .357 Magnum revolver and pointed it into the air.
“Alright everyone, this is a robbery. Stay calm and nobody gets hurt.”
Misty and Kelly stood behind the counter with their hands raised in the air. The other few people in the diner almost choked on their meals at the sight of the handgun. A little boy sitting with his parents started to cry. They comforted him and told him to keep calm. Nick sat calmly with his mug of steaming coffee raised to his lips. He took a sip as he watched the gunman exchange words with Misty who was standing next to the register.
“Okay sweet cheeks, do what I tell you to do and I won’t have to shoot you in the face,” the man said.
The barrel was pointed directly between her eyes.
“Open the cash register and start putting the green stuff in a bag.”
Nick eyeballed the few bodies in the diner. Everyone sat like statues trying not to draw any attention from the gunman. A restroom door opened from the back as a balding middle aged man walked out. He stopped dead in his tracks when he made eye contact with the robber. The man switched the gun in the direction of the man.
“Good morning, sir. You have one of two choices to make. Either sit down quietly or meet your maker this second.”
The man sat down at the nearest empty table by his side. Trembling, not knowing what to make of the situation. Misty continued to put bills of all sorts into a brown paper bag. The man turned his attention to the few people in his view.
“Okay folks, this is what’s going to happen next. You’re all going to empty your purses, wallets, and any valuables and place them on your tables for collection. Anyone pulls any hero shit, they get executed.”
The man walked around the diner watching everyone place various objects such as money, jewelry, and other valuables out for collection. Nick still staring at the man as he made eye contact with him through the dark sunglasses.
“Let’s go pal, gimme what you got,” the man said. Nick took another sip of coffee.
“Oh, I don’t think I’m gonna do that,” Nick replied.
“Come again?” the man asked. Nick was now staring down the barrel of the large revolver.
“You heard me nimrod. You don’t have the…” BLAM!
“More coffee, Nick? Hello Nick? Earth to Nick. Come in, Nick.”
As he shook his head and blinked his eyes coming out of his trance, Nick looked up and saw Kelly standing with a pot of coffee.
“Huh?” he asked. Slightly dazed he brought himself to reality. He looked around the diner and saw that everyone was still calm and cool. No gunman in the building. No scared people. He was back to reality.
“Uh……no thanks, Kelly. I have to be heading out now.”
“Okay. Come up to the register and I’ll give you the damage.”
Nick paid the young waitress, thanked her and walked out the door. He pushed open the glass door, heard the ding of the bell as he prepared for the rest of his day.
Nick noticed out of his peripheral vision a man walking towards the entrance of the diner. He noticed the man was exactly the same person from his dream. Same hat, shades, and wardrobe. Nick got that same tingling feeling on the back of his neck after one of his occasional dreams. He knew what this was about. He absolutely despised this part, but he knew what had to be done. Nick stopped the man dead in his tracks. Face to face. The man and Nick were about the same height. He took his shades off and sized Nick up.
“I know you?” the man asked with a little attitude.
“No, but you will,” Nick said, with a smirk.